Semitic graft on a Sanatana tree – 2
by Sandhya Jain on 23 Apr 2010 30 Comments

Supine summitry

Hindus brainwashed into believing that the Hindus of Bharat owe the Jews of the West some compensation for their ‘sufferings’ at the hands of their Christian compatriots, who believe there can be no questioning Jews on their claims to Palestine, and that dissent on any issue is out of the question, have had problems with the absence of a Jewish Infatuation on the part of this writer.


My objections are simple. Like Iranian president M. Ahmadinejad, I believe India as a nation and Hindus as a people have had no hand in the claimed historical sufferings of Jews through the millennia. Intellectual dissent about the Jewish story is now growing among Jerusalem and other Jews themselves, and should be followed with respect.


Leaving Jews to work out the internal dissent regarding their true history, what is undeniable is that Hindus of India cannot be made to accept ‘guilt’ for crimes they did not commit. We owe Jews, particularly the Ashkenazim dominant voice of International Jewry, no moral or historical restitution. They are, to us, like any other people towards whom we neither offer nor nurture any hostility.


Objections to Swami Dayananda’s Hindu Jewish Summitry is exactly as to the covert diplomacy with the Vatican – grave liberties were taken with the very definition of Hindu Dharma in the guise of promoting understanding between the two most ancient and living civilisations.


The First Hindu-Jewish Leadership Summit (6-7 February 2007, New Delhi) was held under the aegis of the World Council of Religious leaders and the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha and Aim for Seva. There were predictable noises about promoting understanding, tolerance, peace and conflict resolution through religion (whatever that means).


Some traditional mathams were present, but the Swamis spoke little or no English; the vocal Hindu component comprised of Indian and American Hindus whom Swami Dayananda ji is personally comfortable with; numbers were made up from Swamiji’s own organisations like Aim for Seva and Arsha Vidya family. Your writer was present as an observer and her objections to the meeting being conducted as a personal fiefdom of Swami ji were disrespected.


The Jews came with a heavy duty delegation led by Chief Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger (Ashkenazim); Chief Rabbi David Rosen, President, International Jewish Committee for inter-religious consultation and International Director of Inter-religious Affairs, American Jewish Committee; Rabbi Professor Daniel Sperber, Professor of Talmud and Jewish studies, Bar Ilan University; Rabbi Dr. Israel Singer, Chairman, Policy Council of the World Jewish Congress and Chairman, International Jewish Committee for Inter-religious Consultation; Rabbi Moshe Garelik, Director of Rabbinical Center of Europe; Chief Rabbi Albert Guigui, Chief Rabbi of Belgium; and Chief Rabbi Isak Haleve, Chief Rabbi of Turkey. The reciprocal Hindu-Jewish leadership Summit took place in Jerusalem in February 2008, hosted by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the American Jewish Committee.


Semitic definition of Hindu Dharma


The core of my objections centered round the joint declaration signed by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, Chief Rabbi, Shear Yeshuv Cohen and the Convener, Hindu Dharmacharya Sabha, Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Prepared in advance and accepted without application of mind by the Hindus, it read [emphasis mine]:


“The participants reaffirmed their commitment to deepening this bilateral relationship predicated on the recognition of One Supreme Being, Creator and Guide of the Cosmos; shared values; and similar historical experiences. The parties are committed to learning about one another on the basis of respect for the particular identities of their respective communities and seeking, through their bilateral relationship, to be a blessing to all.


“Recognised that the One Supreme Being, both in its formless and manifest aspects, has been worshipped by Hindus over the millennia. This does not mean that Hindus worship ‘gods’ and ‘idols’. The Hindu relates to only the One Supreme Being when he/she prays to a particular manifestation.


“Central to the Jewish and Hindu world view is the concept of the sanctity of life, above all, the human person. Accordingly, the participants categorically reject violent methods to achieve particular goals. In this spirit, the participants expressed the hope that all disputes be resolved through dialogue, negotiation and compromise promoting peace, reconciliation and harmony.”


The questions which Swami Dayananda is dodging are:


-        Is Hindu belief about the nature of creation the same as that in the Judaeo-Christian tradition?


-        Assuming that Hindus and Jews have shared values, what are the ‘similar historical experiences’? Surely Jews cannot credibly blame Islam or Muslims for their history.


-        Most unacceptable is the diminution of the glorious tradition of murti puja by claiming that Hindus do not worship ‘gods’ or ‘idols’ (a hideous colonial missionary term that has been accepted without consultation with thinking Hindus). The desire to conform to Semitic tradition is complete with the statement – ‘The Hindu relates to only the One Supreme Being…’ Without going into the theology of any faith, it should suffice to say that far from explaining the Hindu or Jewish traditions in terms of their own concepts, the convener HDAS allowed superimposition of Semitic categories upon Hindu dharma on Hindu bhumi.


-        Finally, the last point is cleverly worded to privilege human life and garner support for Jewish political objectives. The Vedic worldview recognises the sanctity of the whole creation, both animate and inanimate without distinction, and seeks the well-being of all; there is no privileging of the human person at all, and this is a common strain in the Hindu, Baudha, and Jaina sampradayas.


It may be pertinent to mention here that religion and politics go hand-in-hand in the Abrahamic traditions, of which Judaism is the first-born. The Hindu tradition however, has from its hoary origins dispersed spiritual-political-economic power amongst the populace via the Varna system, precisely to prevent concentration of power in any one social category. Hindu gurus inadequately aware of this critical difference could inadvertently advance a Jewish political agenda while supposedly discussing religion (as we shall see later)! Inter alia, we may note that the Rabbi David Rosen of the American Jewish Congress has close links to politicos and money bags all over America, and has been a frequent past contributor to the Democratic Party; as president of the so-called liberal-leaning American Jewish Congress he gave $100,000 to the Republicans when Bush decided to assault Iraq.


To conclude, there is nothing ‘Hindu’ in this joint declaration. I cannot say if the nuances of this declaration were properly explained to the Swamis who graced the occasion and spoke little or no English; but Swami Dayananda ji and his cohorts can have no such excuse.


The Hindu Swastika


The reciprocal Second International Hindu-Jewish Summit was held in February 2008 in the city of Jerusalem. I am at a loss to understand why, given the disputed nature of that city, the meeting was not held in the Israeli capital of Tel Aviv. To this day, I believe it was politically and civilisationally wrong of Swami Dayananda ji to privilege the Jewish claim to that city.  


The joint declaration reiterated the points of the Delhi declaration, and made a polite acknowledgement that all religions are sacred and valid for their respective peoples. It asserted that to promote ‘the correct understanding of Judaism, Hinduism and their histories, it was agreed that text books and reference material may be prepared in consultation with the scholars’ group under the aegis of this Summit.’


Here it will suffice to say that the Hindu component of the so-called scholars’ group had neither academic training nor standing for the said task [which enraged one of the members when I pointed it out to him]. HDAS did not even raise the issue of the powerful American Jewry taking an interest in correcting the hideous distortion of Hindu dharma in American school textbooks – such was the seriousness of the Hindu delegation.


HDAS was most triumphant that it got the Israeli and American Jews to accept that the ‘Svastika is an ancient and greatly auspicious symbol of the Hindu tradition… A distorted version of this sacred symbol was misappropriated by the Third Reich in Germany, and abused as an emblem under which heinous crimes were perpetrated against humanity, particularly the Jewish people. The participants recognize that this symbol is and has been sacred to Hindus for millennia, long before its misappropriation.’ It was ecstatic that the Jews agreed that there was no Aryan invasion of India!


So proud was Swami Dayananda Saraswati at his achievements at Jerusalem, that he wrote an article for New Indian Express (9 March 2008), saying the “Jerusalem meet concluded with a landmark declaration that Hindus worship ‘one supreme being' and are not really idolatrous.” Claiming this as a profound victory, he chortled, “Judaism was born of the complete repudiation of idol worship and rabbinic literature abounds with denunciations of idolatry in an entire tractate of the Talmud devoted to this… Hinduism has been perceived by them as idolatrous and promoting many gods…”


[This is outrageous. A Hindu guru who upholds the legitimacy for Hindus of the literature of another religion, and tries to make Hindu Dharma pass standards set by that intolerant sect, is betraying the Devas, the Dharma, the bhaktas, the Desh – nothing more need be said in this matter. In one stroke, he has also legitimised the missionary and jihadi hatred of and assault upon Hindu dharma in Hindu bhumi].

Swami Dayananda added, “When they understood that no form is separate from Isvara and the particular form enshrined in a temple is but an altar of worship, they did not see any real issue to contend with…” Once the fundamental misconception was removed, the Rabbinate also affirmed that the ‘svastika is an ancient and auspicious symbol of the Hindu tradition…’

Swami ji exuberantly averred, “The importance of this affirmation may be understood from the fact that a Hindu temple in Detroit was vandalised a few years ago by the Jewish community offended by a huge svastika rangoli at the entrance of the temple.”


Does this mean that if the Jews were unconvinced then it was okay for American Jews to feel free to vandalise Hindu temples there; can we extend this logic to jihadis in the Kashmir Valley? And what is an ‘altar of worship’ – a secular platform like a kitchen board on which vegetables are chopped? This humiliation and degradation of the holy icons of the Hindu pantheon is disgraceful; words cannot adequately condemn it.


Swamiji concluded the article by plugging his other organizational hat – the Global Foundation for Civilisational Harmony [GFCH] – for conflict avoidance and resolution through dialogue among different religions. The GFCH, he said, “in which some well-known religious and spiritual leaders of different faiths participated, has a very significant role to play to bring about this healthy understanding among religions… and help remove wrong perceptions arising from an absence of true understanding of each other's faiths, paving the way for harmony and mutual respect among religions. All religious faiths and religious leaders must extend their whole-hearted support to this great initiative.”



The purpose of begging Jews to accept the sanctity of the Hindu Swastika was a ‘pretend movement’ to seek an international ban on it for being hurtful to Jewish sentiment on account of its association with Nazi Germany – though more than sixty years have passed since the Holocaust, the survivors are mostly dead and gone, and today it is Jews who are causing international concern over their treatment of Palestinian Arabs and role in provoking a crisis with Iran.


Once again there was sullen rage when the writer privately pointed out that:


-        Swami ji should have told the Jews that they came to India for protection after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in AD 70, and have been living in peace and with complete religious freedom ever since


-        It was the duty of the Jews to know and understand the dharma of the Hindu people who had protected their lives and guaranteed their religious-cultural freedom in India


-        They would surely know that Swastika, Om etc are the eternal sacred symbols of all Indic faiths, and have no reason to link the same with Hitler


-        If they did not know, their scholars like the famous Martha Nussbaum could surely enlighten them


-        If Jews really hated the Swastika because of Hitler, the legitimate time to ban it was after the Second World War, when India was unaware of the politics of religion!


-        The fact that this false controversy was being created in the present moment was to make unwise Hindus beg for and receive fake concessions for the Hindu people.


-        The declarations of the summits are actually hate speech against Hindu Dharma.


Far from addressing any of the substantive issues raised regarding the writer’s objections to the manner in which the Inter-Faith Dialogue was conducted, certain American associates of Swami ji stepped forward to malign “Hindu activism” as the realm of “disturbed and cognitively dysfunctional persons”.


As I was unfamiliar with the meaning of this psycho-babble, I placed some information about Rabbi Yona Metzger – kingpin of the Hindu-Jewish Summitry – before them so they could clarify the meaning of “disturbed and cognitively dysfunctional persons.” Readers can judge the calibre of persons allowed to redefine the nature of Hindu Dharma under the benign gaze of Swami Dayananda, convener HDAS!


-        In 2005, Haaretz reported that Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger informed the High Court of Justice that he suspended himself from his positions as religious court magistrate at the Rabbinical High Court and as member of the committee for appointing religious magistrates, following suspicions that the rabbi accepted bribes from the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem. Police claimed sufficient evidence to try Metzger for fraud and breach of trust.


-        In April 2002, Haaretz reported allegations that Rabbi Yona Metzger sexually harassed four men of various ages and from various sectors of society. The report claimed that two of the men successfully passed a polygraph test, at the request of a newspaper.


It is astonishing that the Government of India gave a visa to such a person.


Montréal: redefinition continues


In September 2006 (the same year that secret envoys were sent to Lariano, Italy), the McGill University, Montréal, organised a seminar on World’s Religions after September 11: A Global Congress. As one who was then impressed with Swami Dayananda and knew one of the organisers, I played a role in having Swami ji invited to the Congress.


His address, as posted by a bhakta present there, had something for everyone. Specifically, he said, “The Human Rights UN charter has the article number 18, which talks about the right to change one's religion. If one wants to change one's religion, one must not be denied that freedom. One can change one's religion in private, and in community, and one should be able to profess one's religion. It is a good thing that we have in the Charter of this global body, a clause protecting religious freedom…


Nothing in the subsequent verbiage against conversions can detract from the fact that Swami Dayananda Saraswati let Hindus down by telling an international audience that freedom to change religion was an inalienable right of the individual – that is not the Hindu dharmic view at all.


In the entire world, he must be the sole religious leader who derives religious inspiration and instruction from a text constructed by the Christian west to further its proselytisation agenda. He must immediately cease and desist from projecting himself as a Hindu religious leader, much less the Sole Spokesman (another Semitic malady) of the Hindu Samaj.


(To be continued…)

The author is Editor,

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